The National Indian Gaming Commission has given its okay for the Ponca Tribe to build a casino in Carter Lake, Iowa, a community that borders Omaha on the Nebraska side of the Missouri River. Omaha leaders and Nebraska’s governor have voiced opposition to the proposed gambling hall, but Carter Lake Mayor Russ Kramer says Nebraskans need to mind their own business.
"I still fail to understand how they don’t understand that they’re elected representatives of Omaha," Kramer says. "They ought to be taking care of some of Omaha’s problems and concerns instead of what goes on in my city." Omaha officials claim people will use Omaha infrastructure to reach the casino and there are other social ills associated with gambling. Kramer says he can’t understand how Omaha has any say in the matter.
Kramer says: "They talk about us using their infrastructure, the crowds that may come to a proposed casino will impact the infrastructure of Omaha. They will have to rebuild all the streets. You go to the casinos in Council Bluffs and you drive through the parking lots and 80% of the vehicles are Nebraska vehicles, most of those Omaha vehicles. Don’t those folks already drive across the Omaha infrastructure to get to the three casinos in Council Bluffs?"
Kramer says they have done research and the three current casinos in Council Bluffs have not bred social ills. "They talk about the social ills that this is going to cause in the near north side of Omaha. A ten-minute ride from the Carter Lake area, they can be at the casinos in Council Bluffs if they want to be," he says. "They talk about how this will breed prostitution. I see six to twelve prostitutes most every morning on my way to work driving through Omaha."
Very bluntly, Mayor Kramer says Nebraskans need to keep their noses out of issues that don’t concern them. He says, "Straight up, Omaha doesn’t govern what goes on in the boundaries of Carter Lake or the boundaries of Iowa." Officials in Nebraska have already written letters to the Department of Justice and hope to challenge the building of this casino.